White smoke billowed from the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel Wednesday, indicating the cardinals have selected a new pope after two days worth of voting. Cardinals have elected a successor to Benedict XVI, who stunned the Catholic world last month by becoming the first pope in 600 years to resign. Crowds packing St. Peter’s Square were seen cheering the announcement as bells were ringing.
The new pope, who has yet to be identified, became the winner after receiving at least 77 votes, which is more than two thirds of the cardinals.
The new pope is expected to appear on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica within an hour, after a church official announces “Habemus Papum” — “We have a pope” — and gives the name of the new pontiff in Latin.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is the new pope to succeed Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
The decision by the 115 voting cardinals gathered in Vatican City of who will lead the 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world was made relatively quickly, with the cardinals only starting to gather yesterday. On day two, white smoke could be seen streaming out of the Sistine Chapel’s chimney, signaling that a new pope had been elected.
[Editor’s note: Could this be the last pope? Time will tell if this is indeed good news. Many believe Jesus is coming back to earth soon. Will this pope announce Jesus or the Antichrist?]